Sexual and reproductive health knowledge

This indicator is a composite indicator or index mea­suring adolescents‘ knowledge of key sexual and reproduc­tive health (SRH) topics and issues. The topics and issues included in the indicator should reflect those of primary importance for protecting the SRH of adolescents and/or those the program empha­sized.


Evidence of knowledge of key SRH issues, usually so­licited by means of personal interviews with or self-administered questionnaires completed by adolescents

The following is an illustrative list of topics that evalu­ators may include:

  • The female menstrual cycle and conception;
  • Ways to avoid pregnancy;
  • Methods of contraception;
  • Correct use of (at least) condoms and oral con­traceptives;
  • Existence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV;
  • Means of transmission of STIs;
  • Ways to avoid STIs; and
  • Symptoms of STIs.

Evaluators may want to disaggregate by the following age ranges: 10-14, 15-19, and 20-24.


Surveys of adolescent program participants or of ado­lescents in the program‘s intended population


Adolescents must have knowledge of key SRH topics and issues if they are to make in­formed decisions to protect their health and well being. Many adolescents get their RH information from poorly informed sources (i.e., peers). Inaccurate beliefs con­cerning levels of risk associated with particular behav­iors and/or the effectiveness and side-effects of differ­ent types of contraceptives can be strong enough to pre­vent adolescents from accurately perceiving the poten­tial consequences of their behaviors. This indicator is a composite measure that includes the SRH topics and issues of primary importance for protecting the RH of adolescents and/or those topics and issues the program emphasized.


When interviewers question adolescents about these topics they should use local, non-scientific names to describe certain practices and conditions. Evaluators can and should analyze separately the individual topics and questions included in the composite index to deter­mine those specific topics requiring further emphasis by the program. Although adolescents need accurate knowledge of SRH topics for informed decision-mak­ing, adolescents may not act in a manner consistent with their knowledge, such that evaluators need to measure behavior separately.


index, knowledge, adolescent
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